Personal Protective Equipment

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This page collects observations, interpretations, and consequences for action about the PPE for SARS-CoV2. Please observe the structure of the page, when you add your content. Please use references where possible. Remember to find the relevant page. For example, if your observation is about transmission routes, please use that page, instead of posting your content here.

What is already known

  • In order to maximize the use of PPE if there is insufficient access to stocks of PPE materials, staff should be assigned to carry out procedures, or a procedure, in designated areas. For example, assign staff to swabbing procedures in a dedicated swabbing area. While swabbing patients, healthcare personnel can use the same respirator for several patients for a maximum of 4 hours without having to remove the respirator, as long as it is not damaged or soiled, unless the manufacturer explicitly advises against this. [ [1]
  • Confirmed cases requiring admission should be admitted to an isolation room with a dedicated bathroom. The placement in airborne-precaution single rooms with negative pressure and anteroom, if available, is encouraged, especially for patients requiring AGPs. [1]
  • Healthcare workers in contact with a confirmed case, or a suspected case of COVID-19, should wear PPE for contact, droplet and airborne transmission of pathogens: FFP2 or FFP3 respirator tested for fitting, eye protection (i.e. goggles or face shield), long-sleeved water-resistant gown and gloves. [1]
  • The suggested minimal PPE set protects from contact, droplet and airborne transmission. The composition of the set is described in Table 1 and shown in Figure 1. [2]
Protection Suggested PPE
Respiratory protection FFP2 or FFP3 respirator (valved or non-valved version)*
Eye protection Goggles (or face shield)
Body protection Long-sleeved water-resistant gown
Hand protection Gloves

PPE scarcity


  • PPE is increasingly unavailable for health care workers

Analysis and interpretation

  • in time of scarcity, the health care worker is faced with a moral dilemma: do I treat the COVID19 patient without PPE or not?
  • is there an alternative for PPE?

Consequences for action

  • Governments must ensure availability of PPE
  • Clear and evidence-based advice is needed to guide health Care Workers through their job while minimizing the risks of infection

PPE Guidelines